Joker director Todd Phillips says there are no plans for a sequel right now. The much-discussed, R-rated DC project marks a definite change of pace for the comics giant and Warner Bros. Pictures. For starters, it's not actually part of the shared DC universe (typically referred to as the DC Extended Universe) the studios launched in 2013, and instead takes place in a continuity of its own making. If successful, the intention is for Joker to kick-off a separate banner for similar one-off DC adaptations known as DC Dark or Black.
As a result, Joker wasn't designed to serve as the beginning of a franchise starring Joaquin Phoenix as the Clown Prince of Crime, and mostly functions as a standalone film. That's not to say Phillips isn't open to the prospect of a sequel, having previously said that he would make a Joker 2 if Phoenix was interested. But at the same time, that doesn't mean a Joker sequel is already in the works, as Phillips recently clarified.
Speaking at an early Joker screening (which Screen Rant attended), Phillips provided additional context for his previous statement, saying "The quote was, 'I will do anything Joaquin wants to do. And I would. But the movie's not set up to [have] a sequel". He added that Joker was "always pitched" as a single film and nothing more.
Written by Phillips and Scott Silver (The Fighter), Joker plays fast and loose with its DC mythology, delivering an all-new origin story for the titular Batman super-villain in the process. Because the film isn't beholden to any previous DC movies, Joker is free to provide a comparatively grounded explanation for how its main character, Arthur Fleck, transforms into the Clown Prince - from his makeup-clad face to the mental illness that fuels his spontaneous laughter. And although a sequel is still possible, as Phillips has admitted, it's clearly not something he and Phoenix were actively considering while crafting the movie. Indeed, making a followup to Joker goes against the whole idea of launching a unique Elseworlds-inspired banner for experimental DC adaptations in the first place.
But, then again, that could all go out the window once Joker opens in theaters. The movie is tracking strongly and is expected to set an October box office opening weekend record when it arrives next month, following its run on the festival circuit. If anything, the early controversy and polarizing response to Joker (following its screenings in Venice and Toronto) has only gotten more casual filmgoers interested in finding out just what the heck everybody's all worked up about, anyway. That being the case, this probably won't be the last time Phillips has to address the possibility - or lack thereof - of a Joker sequel happening one day.
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
- The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021
- DC Super Pets (2022) release date: May 20, 2022
- Aquaman 2 (2022) release date: Dec 16, 2022